On Thursday, Sept. 7, a coalition of organizations concerned about the fate of the Eagle Creek forest hosted an informational meeting and guided hike of the area set to be destroyed by the proposed Crossing at Traders Point development on the northwest side of Indianapolis.
The group met at the intersection of Falcon Ridge and Conarroe Road and led a short hike from the neighborhood closest to the proposed development to the already existing and underperforming commercial locations across the interstate just three blocks away.
Indiana Forest Alliance Forests for Indy Campaign Director Lori Perdue said Thursday’s crowd was yet another sign of how strong the local community’s opposition is to this proposed project.
“From school board meetings to neighborhood associations and even at the Metropolitan Development Commision’s (MDC) rezoning hearing nearly 200 local residents spoke out against this project, it is clear that the local community is united in opposition against this proposed project,” said Perdue. “The only question is whether city officials like Mayor Joe Hogsett and Councilor Leroy Robinson will listen to their constituents and put a stop to this project, or allow developers to continue pushing this rezoning through over the community’s objections.”
The project in question has already cleared the first hurdle of rezoning approval by the MDC and is currently being considered for final rezoning approval by the Indianapolis City-County Council – just this week the final hearing was delayed, until at least Oct. 16. If approved, this project would destroy nearly 200 acres of forest and open space in Eagle Creek which includes wetlands and is teeming with wildlife.
Eagle Creek Park Advisory Board Chair and retired US Geological Survey Hydrologist Marty Risch said the proposed development would affect the Eagle Creek forest, Eagle Creek Park and Eagle Reservoir as well as the health and safety of local residents.
“If developers are allowed to remove large areas of local forests and wetlands, the Indianapolis community will not only lose important habitat that is crucial for rare songbirds, bats, waterfowl and other wildlife, but will also experience continually increasing flooding and erosion,” said Risch. “The proposed development drains all of its water through small natural drainageways west to Eagle Creek. We’re already seeing increased storm activity and heavy rainfall due to climate change, but if these acres of forest, wetlands, and farm fields which naturally absorb stormwater are replaced with roofs,parking lots and building foundations, it will exacerbate flooding, putting both homes and infrastructure at risk.”
Local residents have already begun an organized effort to place yard signs and banners in the area and around the city, with dozens of signs popping up in Pike Township already.
Anyone who is interested in getting involved with the Forests for Indy project is encouraged to click here to sign up to help place yard signs and/or host a sign of their own.